Predictors of obesity among Métis children: socio-economic, behavioural and cultural factors..
OBJECTIVES: To examine the socio-economic, behavioural and Métis-specific factors that predict obesity among Métis children aged 6 to 14 years. Socio-economic factors included household structure and income, parental education and food insecurity. Cultural factors included knowledge of an Aboriginal language, participation in cultural activities, time spent with Elders and parental residential school attendance. METHODS: The 2006 Aboriginal Peoples Survey, Children and Youth component collected data about Métis children, including child height and weight, reported by the person most knowledgeable about the child (PMK). Multivariate binary logistic regression was used to predict obesity, defined using IOTF BMI cut-offs. After testing for interactions, models were stratified by age (6-10, 11-14) and gender. RESULTS: An estimated 18.5% of Métis boys and 14.4% of girls were obese. The effects of socio-economic factors and region varied across age and gender groups, although living in a lone-parent family and rural residence had consistent effects. Many effects of cultural variables were unexpected. Although PMK residential schooling was positively associated with obesity generally, the effects were negative among older girls. As expected, children participating in frequent physical activity generally had lower risk, independent of other factors. CONCLUSIONS: Although socio-economic factors are related to risk of obesity among Métis children, the effects may not be the same across age groups and for boys and girls. There is some evidence of independent effects of Métis-specific cultural factors, including parental residential schooling, on the risk of child obesity, but further investigation and better data are needed to understand these relationships.